Why study aging?

We are all aging!

Aging is the primary risk factor for many human pathologies, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and diabetes. Yet, understanding how organisms age remains one of the biggest challenges in biology.

Our Approach

How can we do it?

In the past 25 years, experiments in short-lived model systems (yeast, worms, and flies) have revolutionized the way we perceive aging – revealing that the aging rate itself can be manipulated by genetic and environmental interventions. However, the lack of short-lived vertebrate models for genetic studies has significantly limited our understanding of vertebrate aging, including the role of vertebrate-specific genes (e.g. IL8 and APOE), organs (e.g. bones and blood), and physiological processes (e.g. adaptive immunity).

To this end, we have developed a comprehensive genetic platform for rapid exploration of aging and disease in the shortest-lived vertebrate model, the African turquoise killifish, including a sequenced genome, CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing, and mutant fish for many aging- and disease-relates genes.

(Check out our gallery of the killifish's natural habitat)

What are we interested in?

Taking advantage of this exciting platform, we are trying to answer fundamental questions in biology, such as 1) what is the molecular basis behind the outstanding diversity of lifespan between different animals (which can reach 500-fold difference among vertebrates); and 2) what separates disease from healthy aging? To explore these questions, we are developing a variety of disease models, as well as using cutting edge approaches (including single-cell technology, mass spectrometry, and genome-editing).

Ultimately, our research holds great promise for tackling one of the most fascinating questions in biology – how and why do we age?

Where to find us

We are located at the Department of Genetics at the Institute of Life Sciences, surrounded by the beautiful Givat Ram campus at the the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel)

Meet the Team

We are looking for highly motivated master/graduate students and postdocs.



Dr. Itamar Harel


Itamar Harel, PhD

Research interests: Aging, disease, and development; quantitative genetics; molecular mechanisms driving homeostasis; Vertebrate-specific traits.

Education: BSc, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; PhD, Weizmann Institute of Science; Postdoctoral, Stanford

Hometown: Beit Elazari, Israel

Favorite saying: "its just the universe, resisting, the closer you get to revealing its secrets"

Favorite activities outside the lab: Hiking, Running, Painting, and Cooking

Dream baymate: David Attenborough

Birthday: October 6th

Lab Manager


Dr. Adi Gottesman


Adi Gottesman, PhD

Research interests: microbiology; disease; Aging; molecular Genetics.

Education: BSc, Hebrew University, Jerusalem; MSc and PhD:  Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Hometown: Jerusalem, Israel

Favorite saying: "Be happy. It’s one way of being wise."

Favorite activities outside the lab: travelling, Reading, baking and going to the cinema

Dream baymate: Barbara McClintock

Birthday: June 22

Killifish Facility Manager


Reem Barakat


Reem Barakat

Research interests: Chemistry, Biochemistry

Education: BSc, Birziet University

Hometown: Jerusalem, Israel

Favorite saying: "Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less".

Favorite activities outside the lab: Writing, Reading, Painting and Hiking & walking in nature

Dream baymate: Marie Curie

Birthday: August 24th

PhD Student


Marva Bergman


Marva Bergman, MD

Research interests: Fertility and Reprosuctive system

Education: Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School

Hometown: Jerusalem

Favorite saying: The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall

Favorite activities outside the lab: Running, sleeping and eating.

Dream baymate: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Birthday: April 30th

PhD Student,

Israel Ministry of Science and Technology fellow


Eitan Moses


Eitan Moses

Research interests: Aging, neural & physiological regulation and the relationship between them, and neurobiology.

Education: BSc, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Hometown: Alon Shevut, Israel

Favorite saying: “Anything my dad says”

Favorite activities outside the lab: History podcasts, speculative fiction reading and writing, playing with the kids, Trivia.

Dream baymate: The greek goddess Hesychia

Birthday: July 12th (Tammuz 11th)


Walter-Benjamin DFG fellow


Mathias Diehl


Mathias Diehl, PhD

Research interests: Cell biology, ageing and aging-related diseases, cellular senescence, parasites.

Education: BSc and MSc Philipps-University Marburg, Dr. rer. nat. at Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg

Hometown: Mörfelden (close to Frankfurt, Germany)

Favorite saying: “The room was filled with scientists* and twice as many opinions. (Adapted from Sir Terry Pratchett) *What applies to wizards also holds true for scientists.

Favorite activities outside the lab: Guitar, archery, gaming, virtual reality, reading

Dream baymate: Rick Sanchez

Birthday: September 24th


Czech Science Foundation fellow


Roman Franěk

Roman Franěk, PhD

Research interests:Reproductive biology and germ stem cells

Education:University of South Bohemia, Faculty of Fisheries and Protection of Water

Hometown: Vcelna (near Budweis), Czech Republic

Favorite saying: “If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved, worrying will do you no good.”

Favorite activities outside the lab: Enjoying time with our dogs, travelling

Dream baymate: I already have my dream baymates 🙂

Birthday: July 11th

MSc Student

Renana Shapira passport

Renana Shapira


Renana Shapira

Research interests: Aging, metabolism and endocrinology

Education: BSc, Hebrew University, Rehovot

Hometown: Jerusalem, Israel

Favorite saying: "And the things will be simple and alive, and it is permitted to touch them, and permitted to love "(Leah Goldbeg) "

Favorite activities outside the lab: baking, hiking, Zumba

Dream baymate: Naomi Shemer

Birthday: Tishrei 27th (Oct 16th)

PhD Student


Tehila Atlan


Tehila Atlan

Research interests: Aging, Brain, Cellular senescence, Microbiome, Genetics.

Education: BSc, Jerusalem College of Technology

Hometown: Beit El, Israel

Favorite saying: A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there

Favorite activities outside the lab: swinging, running, reading and diving

Dream baymate: David Eagleman

Birthday: September 19th

MSc Student

unnamed (7)

Omer Ben Dor

Omer Ben Dor

Research interests: Aging, Molecular biology, Genetics, Mitochondrial biology, Metabolism

Education: Current - BSc, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Hometown: Ramat HaSharon, Israel

Favorite saying: By trying there is a chance to succeed. without it the chance is lower…”.

Favorite activities outside the lab: Hiking and tracking, Boulder climbing, Board games.

Dream baymate: Aristotle

Birthday: April 28th

Animal model


Nothobranchius furzeri

Turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri)

Research interests: Swimming, eating, mating, aging.

Education: University of life

Hometown: Gonarezhou national park, Zimbabwe 

Favorite saying: "The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long" (Blade Runner)

Favorite activities outside the lab: N/A

Birthday: a couple of months ago


Itai Rozenberg


Postdoctoral fellow

Dr. Gwendoline Astre


Postdoctoral fellow

Ella Yanay, MSc


Killifish Facility Manager

Shay Kinreich


Undergraduate researcher 

Lev R. Seaton


Undergraduate researcher 

Nadav Bruchiel


Undergraduate researcher 

Ariel Velan, MSc


Killifish Facility Manager